According to Jane Jacobs, “you can’t rely on bringing people downtown… you have to put them there.” Though the cheap housing, convenient and natural environment of Chelsea (excluding the factories) may have originally brought the first set of gay community to the neighborhood, it required active maintenance for the community to have grown so rapidly. Maintaining a continuity in Chelsea’s current reputation was triggered by deliberate effort. The root of Chelsea’s quick gain in popularity was rather unexpected and in many ways coincidental. “Coincidental”, because though it is true that Chelsea was in the cheaper housing range during the start of the population growth, there were other cheaper neighborhoods in the area that did not receive the spotlight as Chelsea did. The area was known as a place of gritty factory workers, and yet it managed to obtain such popularity only in such a short period of time beginning around the 1970s.
Chelsea’s fortunate location, next to the Hudson River, walking distance to both Washington Square Park and Union Square, certainly contributed to the attraction of civilians. Its’ available natural surroundings and convenient location may explain for why it was preferred over other cheaper neighborhoods. In addition to its’ favorable location, it was the people that moved into the area that brought life to it (discussed further in LGBT section).
Recent statistics show that the average price for a 1-bedroom rental is $3,795 per month, which is among the more expensive rentals in New York. The housing available in this neighborhood are mostly complexes/high rise apartments and a few small apartment buildings. Most of the apartments consist of 0 – 2 bedrooms. The housings were predominantly built between 1940 – 1969, with a few historic homes (1939 and earlier) and newer establishments (1970-1999).
Next to the Hudson River, above 23rd Street, is a post-industrial neighborhood where the High Line visibly follows the river all through Chelsea. Eighth Avenue is the central area for LGBT – shopping and dining. 16th to 22nd streets, between ninth and tenth avenue, is occupied with more historically looking houses, filled with mid-nineteenth-century brick and brownstone townhouses where a few are even today used as single family dwellings. Since the high line has been built, the area has undergone further real estate development where a couple luxury apartment buildings have been built on 23rd Street in West Chelsea.
Chelsea seems to have it all: not only is it rich in diversity, consisting of “low” (Manhattan standards) rentals, but it also has an extremely high range of education! According to the most recent census taken in 2010, it was rated 9/10. This is abnormally high in comparison to the average education level in America which is 3. The wide range of schools offered at Chelsea reflects the diversified occupants of Chelsea. The most prevalent are public schools including Public School 11 (Willian T. Harris School), Public School 33 (The Chelsea School), Intermediate School 70 (O’Henry School), Liberty High School For Newcomers, Lab School, NYC Museum School, The Institute of Culinary Education and the Humanities Educational Complex. Private secondary schools include the Catholic Xavier High School. On a more art based spectrum, Chelsea contains the Fashion Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts (for-profit) and the public High School of Fashion Industries. Chelsea is also home to the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church (oldest seminary in the Anglican Communion), The Center for Jewish History and the center of several national research organizations. With this being said, it is clear that Chelsea is the home to people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and religion, supporting the fact that Chelsea is a lively and successful neighborhood.
“New York, NY (W 30th St / 9th Ave)Help.” W 30th St & 9th Ave 10001 New York, NY Neighborhood Profile. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ny/new-york/30th-st/>.
“Must-See Chelsea.” nycgo.com. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nycgo.com/slideshows/must-see-chelsea>.
Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. [New York]: Random House.
“Become a Contributor.” Untapped Cities., 20 Sept. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://untappedcities.com/2013/09/20/untappedcities-photo-pool-pic-of-the-week-field-report/>.